An Insight to Health Psychology by Local Lass Sinead Malone..

Sinead maloneSinead you are originally from Tullamore in the Midlands but studied in Northern Ireland, what course did you choose in Belfast and why?

I chose to study for a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at Queens University in Belfast. I enjoyed science subjects while at school and was particularly interested in Psychology. I researched a few degree options and decided to also explore courses available through the UCAS system. When I got my leaving cert results I was lucky enough to have an offer to study psychology at NUI Galway and an offer for Belfast. I wish I could say my decision was based on a well thought out strategy or course content but in the end I just chose to go a bit further afield for an adventure!

I fully enjoyed my degree and Belfast was a fantastic city to be a student. I became particularly interested in the specific field of Health Psychology and later undertook a Masters degree in Health psychology at the University of the West of England. At that time Health psychology was quite a new discipline and there weren’t any Masters courses on offer in Ireland.

Can you tell us a little about what Health Psychology is?

Health psychology is the study and application of psychological theories and models to health, illness and healthcare. Health psychologists use their knowledge of psychology and health to promote general well-being and understand physical illness. They are specially trained to help people deal with the psychological and emotional aspects of health and illness as well as supporting people who are chronically ill.

Are there many different career options for people who complete this course?

People who are trained in health psychology can work in a variety of settings such as hospitals and community health trans, health research units, public health departments and university departments. Consultancy companies may also employ health psychologists to provide expertise such as training, research or intervention skills.

What is your current role?

I currently work within the Health and Social
Care system in Northern Ireland on a project to promote delivery of more integrated and personalised care for people with long term conditions.

What would you say to someone considering a career in science?

I would absolutely encourage people to progress a career in Science. It is a vast discipline which offers a huge range of career opportunities and has relevance to every aspect of life. The most exciting thing for me is that whatever aspect of Science you are involved in it is always evolving and changing so it never gets boring and there’s always more to learn and know!